Appearing in "Double or Nothing"
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
Synopsis for "Double or Nothing"
Spider-Man swings across the city trying to keep his mind off the bombshell that was recently revealed to him, that he's not the real Peter Parker, but a clone.[Continuity 1] He decides that he and the Scarlet Spider still needs to sort out some details with their lives, but first the wall-crawler intends to stop by the Daily Bugle one last time. On his way there, Spider-Man passes by the headquarters of the Hellfire Club, catching the attention of Shinobi Shaw, the Black King, and leader of its Inner Circle. For a moment he fears that wall-crawler was going to come crashing in, but is relieved that the hero does not. Tessa, his confidant, thinks Shinobi is being paranoid, pointing out that Spider-Man is not a mutant, and thus, doesn't have an interest in the club. That's when he is interrupted by Benedict Kine, the Club's White King. Kine shows Shaw the front page of the Daily Bugle, which includes an advertisement of an upcoming expose on the Hellfire Club by publisher J. Jonah Jameson.
Shinobi Shaw dismisses this, but Benedict insists that his inattention on the news of the Legacy Virus led to the re-ignition of anti-mutant hysteria worldwide.[Continuity 2] Kine insists that Jameson is a serious threat, unlike the X-Men that Shinobi is obsessed with. Shaw continues to dismiss this, figuring that they can manipulate the media to their own ends. Kine insists that they do something and since Shinobi refuses to budge, he issues a rite of challenge. Shaw accepts and has Tessa contact the White and Black Knights. Per the rules of the challenge, these soldiers will act as proxies for the dispute. While the White Knights will be sent to eliminate J. Jonah Jameson, the Black Knights are tasked with stopping his assassination. The winner of this challenge will also become the next leader of the Hellfire Club.
Meanwhile, at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker is getting a hard time from Jonah's secretary. Not only is she questioning the photos that Jameson already approved, but she also refuses to cut Peter a check until he can produce two forms of identification. Since he doesn't have his wallet on him, Peter can't get paid until Monday. Since the secretary is so smug, Peter decides to take out his frustrations on her by webbing the woman's drinking cup to her desk. Having his identity questioned like this causes Peter to brood over the recent turmoil in his life caused by the return of Ben Reilly, the Jackal.[Continuity 3] As he heads out of the office, Peter passes by a woman complaining about the quality of the photocopier. When she makes a comment about "inferior copies" just embitters Peter even more. That's when J. Jonah Jameson comes out of his office and begins calling for Peter. He asks Peter to take a photo of Jameson next to a cut out of himself that is advertising the new low price for the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 4] Peter grudgingly takes the pictures when suddenly his spider-sense goes off, warning him of danger. At that moment, two White Knights teleport into the office to eliminate him. True to form, Jameson flees from the danger, and while the White Knights are distracted with Jonah, Peter slips away so he can change into Spider-Man.
Nearby, Scott Summers, his wife Jean, Betsy Braddock, Warren Worthington, and Henry McCoy are running late to a play.[Continuity 5] Insisting that they hurry, Hank McCoy leads the charge to the local theater. When they arrive, Warren is dismayed that the play they are going to see is called "Dogs". While back at the Daily Bugle, the White Knights corner Jameson in his office. While the publisher cowers behind his desk, Spider-Man arrives to save him. When the wall-crawler tries to web-up the two White Knights, they teleport away. That's when the Black Knights arrive on the scene. This entire display is being observed by Shaw and Kine to see who is the victor. Benedict insists that he issued this challenge because he wants to protect the Hellfire Club's way of life. Shinobi insists that this is also why he accepted the challenge, as he sees Kine as his inferior and could never allow him to run their organization. While back at the theater, the members of the X-Men are trying to enjoy the show when they are all suddenly struck a psychic howl. Rushing outside, the pain subsides, but they realize that this was a beacon that is summoning them south. After Warren and Hank deactivate their image inducers, the X-Men go to investigate.
The mutants are drawn to the Daily Bugle where Spider-Man is busy fighting off the Black Knights. While he is distracted, the White Knights return and blast Jameson, sending him crashing out a window. However, instead of plummeting to his death, Jonah is saved by the Beast. He is then brought to the other X-Men who are now in uniform. That's when the Black and White Knights catch up and try to take Jameson. Archangel and Psylocke try to stop the White Knights but they manage to evade the two X-Men with their teleportation abilities. They manage to kill one of the Black Knights and grab Jameson. Archangel attempts to strike the two would-be assassins with his poison-tipped feathers, but they teleport away. That's when Spider-Man pokes his head out, prompting Phoenix to use her telekinetic powers to redirect Warren's feathers before they can strike the wall-crawler.[Continuity 6] The two teams compare notes, and the wall-crawler is disturbed when he sees the surviving Black Knight with razor-sharp feathers protruding from him. Cyclops assures the wall-crawler that these humanoids are cybernetic and not real people. This strikes a nerve with Spider-Man suggests that they focus on a "real" person and try and save J. Jonah Jameson.
Suddenly, the X-Men are struck with another psychic jolt. These have been caused by Shinobi Shaw, who is caught in the act by Benedict Kine. Kine is not surprised that Shaw would cheat like this, but Shinobi insists that with Jameson still alive, the game is still on and he will do whatever it takes to make sure that Benedict never takes control of the Hellfire Club. Soon the X-Men and Spider-Man arrive outside the Hellfire Club. Spider-Man insists on running in headfirst but is telekinetically stopped by Phoenix. Cyclops insists that they take a more subtle approach, fearing that if the Hellfire's Inner Circle is exposed it could set back human-mutant relations even further. Spider-Man points out that once Jonah gets out of there alive he will print everything. Grimly, Cyclops decides that they will deal with that issue when they get there. The group sneak inside and interrupt Kine and Shaw as they argue over Jameson. This allows Spider-Man and the X-Men to get the drop on the two villains and get Jameson to safety. As Jameson is knocked out, Spider-Man is told to get him out of the facility before he comes around and discovers where he is. Spider-Man puts webbing over Jonah's eyes and leaves him hanging in a closet. Waking up, Jonah demands to know who is doing this to him, and Spider-Man jokingly tells the publisher that he is the Scarlet Spider.
He rejoins the X-Men who take down the last of the White and Black Knights. With the battle turning, Shinobi and Tessa attempt to flee, but are stopped by Phoenix's telekinetic powers. When Shinobi tells the X-Men that he was actually trying to keep Jameson alive, Jean confirms this telepathically. Shaw then gloats over how he managed to maintain control of his empire, surpassing his fathers ability to beat the odds.[Continuity 7] Cyclops doesn't think so, calling Shinobi a cheap copy of his father, upsetting Spider-Man with his comments once more. In the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man thanks the X-Men for helping him rescue Jonah. Before he leaves, Cyclops swears Spider-Man to silence about the Hellfire Club, reminding him of the damage it can do to human-mutant relations. Spider-Man then returns to the Daily Bugle, where he webs up Jonah in a mockary of the cardboard cut out he intends to put on display. When Jameson wakes up, he sees his situation and begins cursing the Scarlet Spider. Outside the office, Peter Parker recovers the camera he set up earlier when the Knights attacked the Bugle. Thinking about what Cyclops had said, he destroys the film, and since he is leaving the Daily Bugle, for good, he crushes the camera. As he walks out he gives a not-so-fond farewell to the empty office.